News / Europe

Estonia PM Calls for Permanent NATO Presence as Bulwark to Russia

German Chancellor Angela Merkel (R) and Estonia's Prime Minister Taavi Roivas attend a news conference after talks at the Chancellery in Berlin, June 20, 2014.
German Chancellor Angela Merkel (R) and Estonia's Prime Minister Taavi Roivas attend a news conference after talks at the Chancellery in Berlin, June 20, 2014.
Estonian Prime Minister Taavi Roivas urged NATO on Friday to establish a permanent presence in the Baltic state in response to Russia's actions in Ukraine, telling his allies to “open your eyes and stay awake”.
The Western alliance has tripled the number of fighter jets based in the Baltics as part of measures to beef up its defenses in eastern Europe following Russia's annexation of Crimea.
The events in eastern Ukraine, where Russian-speaking insurgents using sophisticated weapons threaten to split the country, have put the whole former Soviet bloc region on alert and eager for NATO reassurance.
Asked if he would like to see a permanent mission in Estonia, Roivas told Reuters in an interview: “Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland and Romania are the border states, and it is only logical that air policing and air defense for example are present on the borders.”
NATO's top military commander, U.S. Air Force General Philip Breedlove, said last month that NATO would have to consider permanently stationing troops in eastern Europe.
But some NATO allies argue that permanent basing of large numbers of troops in the east is too expensive, not a military necessity and needlessly provocative to Moscow.
Asked about the risk of antagonizing Moscow further, Riovas said: “Russia has done everything to break all agreements and has been very aggressive... we have the alarm bell ringing in Ukraine and I really believe that now is the time to open your eyes and stay awake.”
NATO has arranged a number of short-term army, air force and naval rotations in Eastern Europe, but these are due to finish at the end of this year.
Long-term plans include training drills that will consistently keep about 100 U.S. elite troops on the ground at any one time in NATO states close to Russia, with teams working in several countries, a U.S. official said.

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Comment Sorting
by: meanbill from: USA
June 21, 2014 7:53 AM
A MESSAGE for Estonia? -- The US, EU, and NAO military forces, (are the most powerful military forces in the history of the world), but they haven't won a single conflict or war that they started, or participated in, have they? --- Stay neutral like Switzerland?

by: Thomas Borgsmidt from: Denmark
June 20, 2014 11:46 PM
I really don't think Russia and Putin saw that one coming.

Russia has been proceeding the same path as Hitler and Stalin did - using the same old ploys. We have seen their agression in Chechetnia, in Georgia and now in the Ukraine - what strikes me most is that Putin really did not think that Nato (and the EU) were pondering their options and making plans.

Today there is not THE WARPLAN - but a set of plans to cover different contingencies. The provocations of Russia - flying strategic bombers against Sweden and trying to put up Iskander missiles in Königsberg - have not gone by unoticed.

I doesn't seem like Russia understands that plans are under continual revision. Of course the provocations have been taken into consideration when the annual exercise Saber Strike was planned - it would have been stupid not to do that. Ukrainia has entered into that as well. Exercise planning is very flexible, where some participants are simulated or just on paper - but can be put in flesh at the appropriate notice.

The danger in the situation is that Russia is coming apart financially and in those circumstances a primitive despot like Putin is liable to strike out. So better take that eventuality into consideration.

Of course we never trusted a known criminal like Putin!

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